Weekly Crunch Recap

Monday, 02.25.2013 / 4:42 PM
Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter

Last Week

Mon., Feb. 18 - Crunch at Albany - W, 5-3

Wed., Feb. 20 - Crunch vs. Toronto - W, 4-3 SO

Sat., Feb. 23 - Crunch vs. Springfield - W, 3-0

Sun., Feb. 24 - Crunch vs. Connecticut - W, 4-0

This Week

Tue., Feb. 26 - Crunch at Rochester, 7:05 p.m.

Fri., Mar. 1 - Crunch vs. Albany, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Mar. 2 - Crunch vs. Rochester, 7:30 p.m. (TV)

Sun., Mar. 3 - Crunch at Hershey, 5:00 p.m.

Need to Know

- Syracuse has a season-best, seven-game win streak, outscoring opponents 32-7 with four shutouts.

- With a 33-14-2-4 record, the Crunch's 72 points are most in the Eastern Conference, five more than Springfield.

- After its first four-game week Feb. 18-24, the Crunch play four more in Week 21, two at home and two away.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Game 50: Crunch win streak continues at Devils

Syracuse won its fourth straight game with a 5-3 victory at Albany on Monday afternoon. The Crunch took a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period after Dana Tyrell buried a 3-on-1 rush at the 10:20 mark and Tyler Johnson scored just 34 seconds later. The Devils’ Mike Sislo scored a power-play goal with 5:28 left in the first frame. After a scoreless second, the third period had a plethora of goals. Johnson and Albany’s Steve Zalewski traded tallies in the first half of the third. Then, Johnson completed his first career hat trick with a power-play goal with 5:33 left. The Devils cut the deficit to 4-3 before a Brett Connolly empty-net goal extended his point streak to nine games. Goalie Cedrick Desjardins made 22 saves in his Syracuse debut to get the win.

Game 51: Syracuse caps comeback with shootout win over Toronto

The Crunch never held a lead during a 4-3 shootout win over the Marlies. Toronto’s Joe Colborne started the scoring when he tapped a rebound past Syracuse goalie Riku Helenius with 0.4 seconds left in the first period. Less than three minutes into the second, Crunch captain Mike Angelidis evened the game with a one-timer off an Ondrej Palat feed that beat Marlies’ goalie Mark Owuya. Colborne and Palat also tallied goals in the second to make the score 2-2 heading into the third period. Syracuse had to come back one more time. After Ryan Hamilton gave Toronto the lead in the third, Dana Tyrell tied the game with a wraparound goal after an odd bounce gave him the puck behind the net. Palat, Brett Connolly, Radko Gudas converted shootout chances, while Helenius stopped three of five Marlies for a win in his first shootout. Syracuse is now 2-4 in shootouts.

Game 52: Crunch keep rolling against Falcons

Syracuse shut out Springfield 3-0 for a season-high sixth straight win. Goalie Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 26 shots he faced in his home debut with the Crunch. The first two periods were scoreless before defenseman Mark Barberio dangled around Springfield goalie Allen York and tucked home a tight angle shot to give Syracuse a 1-0 lead. Minutes later (following a stellar penalty kill), P.C. Labrie added a wraparound goal to double the lead. Finally, J.T. Brown scored an empty-netter in his first game since breaking his collarbone Dec. 28. The win gave the Crunch a three-point lead over the Falcons for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Game 53: Syracuse shuts out Connecticut for seventh straight win

The Crunch extended a season-long win streak with a 4-0 win over the Whale on Sunday afternoon. Cedrick Desjardins recorded a shutout for the second straight day after stopping 29 shots. P.C. Labrie buried the first goal of the game when he whistled a shot from the left circle past Whale goalie Cameron Talbot. Ondrej Palat and Mark Barberio set up a Tyler Johnson power-play goal with less than five minutes left in the first period to make it 2-0 Crunch after one. With 1:44 left in the second period, Johnson buried his league-leading 28th goal of the year on a power play off feeds from Palat and Barberio again. Finally, J.T. Wyman got on the scoresheet with 7:34 left in the game to make the final count 4-0 Syracuse. The Crunch have eight shutouts on the season and recorded consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.

Notes

- The Crunch's current seven-game win streak is the team's longest of the season and third longest in the AHL this year. Grand Rapids strung together eight wins Nov. 3-24 and Binghamton had nine Nov. 10-Dec. 7. Syracuse owns the season's longest road win streak, nine victories Oct. 19-Nov. 25. The Crunch's three straight home wins equals their best stretch at the War Memorial this season.

- Syracuse's power play is 10-for-34 (29.4%) during the team's seven-game win streak and is now seventh in the AHL at 19.6% (50-for-255). Only Springfield and Oklahoma City have more power-play goals (51).

- The Crunch penalty kill has stifled opponents in four of the seven games during Syracuse's win streak, allowing just three power-play goals in 26 opponent chances, an 88.5% efficiency. Syracuse is 13th in the AHL at 84.1%.

- Ondrej Palat had seven points in Week 20 and now has 40 for the season, third most on the Crunch. He has multi-point performances in four of the last five games (1g, 8a), including his first three-assist effort Sunday. Palat's 33 assists are tied for second in the AHL, two behind Hershey's Jeff Taffe.

- Cedrick Desjardins has wins in each of his first three games, including back-to-back home shutouts vs. Springfield and Connceticut Saturday and Sunday. He's stopped 78 of 81 shots, upping his save percentage from 0.905 to 0.912 and shrinking his goals-against average from 2.94 to 2.70. Overall, he is 10-13-2 with four shutouts.

- Tyler Johnson had five goals in Week 20 and now has 28, the most in the AHL, two more than Manchester's Tyler Toffoli. Johnson's 51 points are second most in the league, one behind Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist.

- Brett Connolly has points in 11 of the last 12 games, totaling seven goals and seven assists in that span. He has 48 points on the year (22g, 26a), fifth most in the AHL.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Crunch at Rochester—Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

For the seventh time this season, the Crunch face the Rochester Americans Tuesday night in Rochester. The Amerks have won five of the first six meetings this season, including each of the last three by a combined score of 13-5. The most recent match was a 5-3 Rochester win Feb. 2 in Syracuse. The Crunch’s only victory came Jan. 9, a 5-3 win.

The Amerks have lost two in a row, and are just 5-5-0-0 in their last ten games to slip to 27-20-2-1 on the season. Their 57 points puts Rochester in fourth place in the North Division and ninth overall in the Western Conference. Rochester is led by right wing Mark Mancari (15g-28a-43pts), right wing Brian Flynn (16g-16a-32pts), and defenseman Brayden McNabb (4g-25a-29pts). Goaltender David Leggio leads the AHL with 26 wins. He has five wins against the Crunch. For Syracuse, Ondrej Palat’s six points (all assists) lead the Crunch against the Amerks. Rochester plays Syracuse Tuesday and Toronto Wednesday, then play the Crunch again on Saturday and visit Lake Erie on Sunday.

Crunch vs. Albany—Friday, 7:30 p.m.

For the sixth time this season, and the fourth time in three weeks, the Crunch play the Albany Devils Friday night. The two teams square off three more times this season, with all three coming at the War Memorial. Syracuse has won four of the first five matches, including a 6-0 win Feb. 13, which started the Crunch’s current seven-game winning streak. Syracuse has defeated the Devils twice during the winning streak.

The Devils have won two in a row and are 5-4-0-1in their last tens games. That puts Albany in third place in the Northeast Division and 10th overall in the Eastern Conference with a 22-19-1-9 record and 54 points. Albany is led by right wing Matt Anderson (11g-23a-34pts), left wing Joe Whitney (16g-15a-31pts), and center Steve Zalewski (10g-21a-31pts). Goaltender Keith Kinkaid is 17-11-5 with a 2.69 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Tyler Johnson’s ten points (7g-3a) lead the Crunch against the Devils. He recorded his first career hat trick in the last match, a 5-3 Crunch win Feb. 18. Friday will be the first of a three-in-three for Albany. After visiting Syracuse, the Devils play road games against the Penguins and Phantoms Saturday and Sunday.

Crunch vs. Rochester—Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (TV)

For the second time in four days, the Crunch battle the Americans Friday Saturday night in Syracuse, in the middle game of a three-in-three for Syracuse. It will be the fourth meeting of five at the War Memorial in Syracuse. The Crunch are winless in the first three home games against the Amerks. Rochester is only 11-10-2-0 on the road, but they are a perfect 3-0-0-0 in Syracuse.

Mark Mancari leads all players with eight points (3g-5a) in the six games in the I-90 rivalry. 21 different players have recorded a point for the Amerks against the Crunch. Syracuse has 17 different players who have registered a point versus the Amerks. David Leggio has started three straight games for Rochester. After making 30 saves in a shutout win over Hamilton, he has allowed eight goals over his last two games, both losses. Riku Helenius has three losses in three games against the Amerks. Cedrick Desjardins lost in his only start for the Bulldogs against Rochester.

Crunch at Hershey—Sunday, 5:00 p.m.

Syracuse concludes the week with its fourth of six games against the Hershey Bears. It will be the first time the teams meet since Nov. 18. The Crunch won that one and the other two and are a perfect 3-0 against the Bears this season. Syracuse has outscored Hershey 15-7 in the three games.

The Bears have secured points in eight of their last ten games (4-2-1-3), which moves their record to 25-21-3-5. The 58 points places the Bears in fourth place in the East Division and seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Hershey is lead by center Jeff Taffe (12g-35a-47pts), left wing Jon DiSalvatore (14g-21a-35pts), and center Casey Wellman (10g-24a-34pts). Wellman has 11 points in 11 games since joining the Bears from San Antonio. Goaltenders Dany Sabourin and Philipp Grubauer have split time this season and are a combined 13-12-4. Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson both have three goals in three games against the Bears. Hershey will be closing out a three-in-three Sunday vs. the Crunch. They play at the Penguins on Friday, then host the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday.

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